My friend's son acts like a total monster 99% of the time...HELP! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some advice. Badly. 

 

My girlfriend's 8-year-old son has the worst attitude of any child I've ever met. I've known him for a while now and have yet to see him act in a thoughtful or considerate manner. He takes things (toys, found objects, you name it) from his "friends."  to describe him as "bossy" would be an understatement. He is disrespectful to his mom, to me, to other kids. He talks back, doesn't take no for an answer, orders his mom/other adults around (no Please or Thank you) and is constantly--CONSTANTLY--testing the limits and boundaries. He flaunts rule-breaking to show off to his friends (and even when he has no peers around, he's still showing off/trying to be a punk) and doesn't correct his behavior even when his mom tells him to and threatens punishment. He is condescending to other kids and adults. 


My son brings home the bad attitude after every play date and it takes a day or two to get him back to being respectful and obedient (I'm swift with consequences and punishment and don't put up with squat). One thing I've noticed is that my friend doesn't give consequences. She threatens to, yells at him, but doesn't actually do what she threatens to (like end the play date or end the fun activity).  If there are consequences, they are not swift/in the moment and happen behind closed doors after everyone has left...and appear to not work.

 

It would be one thing if the kid just acted like a brat all the time, but this kid is obsessed with guns. Talks about guns all the time. Knows A LOT about guns. Everything he wants to play involves guns. And it's not "lets get the bad guys" kind of gun play or what I'd consider pretty normal boy play; he pretend-shoots DIRECTLY at other kids to "kill" them. I told him "no" once and he pointed his toy gun at ME and "shot" me! He had his "friends" line up against a tree with their hands up above their heads and pretend SHOT them execution style! 

 

I know the parents don't keep guns in their home...but his obsession, combined with his poor attitude/behavior and the parents' lack of consequences kind of freaks me out. The parents are finally starting to limit the gun play, but considering how little impact the rest of their corrective attempts have made, I'm not sure it will work. 

 

It has gotten to the point that I'm not sure I can let my son continue playing with him because I'm concerned for my son's safety. How do I explain that to my friend without insulting her parenting? I really, genuinely like my friend and don't want to end the friendship over this.  

 

ALSO, what kind of response is OK for me to have to the kid when he is rude and disrespectful to me? (when I tell him "no" and he continues to do something; when he pretend shoots me in the head, when he talks back to me, etc...)????? Yesterday I told him to please stop doing something. (it had been going on for A LONG time and the mom had asked him several times to stop and he didn't) When I asked him to stop I told him if he didn't my son wouldn't be able to play with him next time he wanted to play, and then when the kid didn't stop I said, "I'm sorry, but I asked you to be respectful and told you didn't stop then my son couldn't play with you next time. So now, the next time you want to play with him I will have to say no." The kid was SHOCKED. It was clear no one had ever actually followed through with a consequence before. I was uncomfortable having to say that/do that because he isn't *MY* kid--but I was tired of being disrespected infront of my own son and having it go on and on...was I right to lay down the law like that or was I out of line? 

 

I'm sorry to ramble, but this has been bothering me for a while and I just can't figure out how to deal with it. Thanks for any tips/advice you have!!

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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yikes i guess IDK how to pull it off but I would not let my child play with a child like that. At least at that age when you have some control over it. I just don't know how you'd say it to the mom.

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#3 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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No more playdates with this child!

Offer to see your friend sans children.
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#4 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, thank you. That is sort of what I was thinking...do I make any mention of why? I am seriously worried for this kid's future. 

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#5 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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OK, thank you. That is sort of what I was thinking...do I make any mention of why? I am seriously worried for this kid's future. 


No, don't say anything other than you don't think they enjoy each other's company anymore. Anything else would be taken as judgment on her parenting skills.
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#6 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 06:00 PM
 
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Limit playdates with this child - don't initiate one unless your friend does.  And when your friend does, you can do it some time but not all the time - no need to explain why.  Just meet with the mom without kids is a great idea. 

 

Your friend has experienced her kid misbehaving first hand - it's not like she doesn't know.  If her kid's behaviors really bother her, she'd have done something (different) about it.  If not, you telling her won't probably change anything anyway.  So, just to be practical - telling your friend why would probably not help anyone.

 

But, definitely, this kid is not a good influence on yours.


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#7 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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good advice, thank you!! Do you think it is out of line for me to correct him when he is rude/disrespectful to me in front of my son? If it wasn't i nfront of my kid I would probably let it slide, but when it is in front of my son I don't want my son thinking in anyway that it is OK to act like that towards me (or any adult)...the mom doesn't do anything when he acts that way towards me, or if she does say something it isn't enough to stop him from acting that way...so...what to do in those situations? 

 

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#8 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professormama View Post

good advice, thank you!! Do you think it is out of line for me to correct him when he is rude/disrespectful to me in front of my son? If it wasn't i nfront of my kid I would probably let it slide, but when it is in front of my son I don't want my son thinking in anyway that it is OK to act like that towards me (or any adult)...the mom doesn't do anything when he acts that way towards me, or if she does say something it isn't enough to stop him from acting that way...so...what to do in those situations? 

 


If it's in my home home, I smile sweetly and explain the rules in my home -- I explain what they can do that is fun and what they cannot do that is harmful.  Outside of my home, I say something like, "That hurts my feelings" (with true sadness in my voice) or more bluntly, "I don't think that's a polite way to behave."

 


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#9 of 18 Old 04-09-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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I think I would try to restrict playdates to my home where I would be more comfortable enforcing rules if I were to have playdates.  By 8 though we were beyond playdates to simply having a friend over and usually it wasn't with another Mom around so it was pretty esy to say 'that doesn't fly in this house, if you continue, you will need to head home.' 

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#10 of 18 Old 04-09-2011, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good Call! Next play date will be here...if there is one. :)

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#11 of 18 Old 04-10-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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I think I would try to restrict playdates to my home where I would be more comfortable enforcing rules if I were to have playdates.  By 8 though we were beyond playdates to simply having a friend over and usually it wasn't with another Mom around so it was pretty esy to say 'that doesn't fly in this house, if you continue, you will need to head home.' 


Yep, I would definitely be having any future playdates in my home if there were to be any at all. I think if it were me though, I would just stop having playdates with the boys. Does your son even enjoy this boy's company?
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#12 of 18 Old 04-10-2011, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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unfortunately my son adores this boy (who knows why?!)...thinks he is really cool (from all the showing off and bad attitude?) and considers him his "best friend"...which actually makes me want to limit their play even more because I don't want my son thinking that type of bad attitude, disrespect, etc. is OK...I just don't know...it gets complicated because the mom's husband and my husband work together...and like I said earlier, I really like the mom...

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#13 of 18 Old 04-10-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Maybe your son can get "busy" suddenly with other activities. If you are "too busy" enough... folks get a clue and you never have to be the bad guy.
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#14 of 18 Old 04-10-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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I don't think you should host playdates at your home. It sounds way too stressful to have to deal with that child on your turf. And your son would still be influenced by the other kid's negative behaviors.

I think you should tell your friend that you think the boys don't seem to bring out the best in each other these days and need to take a break from each other for a few months (or however long). That way you're not not laying it at her kid's door specifically. And of course emphasize that you still really want to hang out with her, just not with the kids.
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#15 of 18 Old 04-12-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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I agree with a lot of the previous advice. I think your actually following through with a consequence was superb--and actually gives me hope for the kid. I do wonder, however, if the Mom is completely and totally overwhelmed and just doesn't know what to do. I have no idea how this would be received, but have you thought about offering a book on ODD/Explosive Kids or Love & Logic parenting or something like that? There's a book by Allan Kazdin(?) which comes with a DVD. You could loan it to her and say that it helped you or some such thing. You could also refer her to www.livesinthebalance.org

I worry about what might happen if nobody tries to help this boy. As she's your friend, I wonder if you could have a heart to heart with her? Maybe she needs help but doesn't know what to do? Maybe she would appreciate advice/help/something. Perhaps a letter is the way to go, I have no idea. My guess is her initial reaction would be defensive, but she might also reach out for help as well.

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#16 of 18 Old 04-12-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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This situation is a general concern for all parents. My in laws always give her junk food, let her watch tv and hardy stick to the rhythm I have established for her, they always tell me "she didn't look tired", "she was hungry" and "she asked to watch tv". Shes two for crying out loud, your really going to do what she asks, anyways, she used to come home and be extra cranky when she was younger. But now I supervise those visits and she understands that behavior is not nice and gentle behavior, so the visit to the grandparents don't effect her as much anymore. When it comes to play dates, if she does anything remotely unkind, i pull her aside and tell her "that's not nice" or "you have to be careful", which resonates with those around us because they are able to accept a child holds the ability to understand and have emotions. 

 

I have always wanted to be a mother my entire life and am constantly thinking of what is best for my daughter, I would tell that mom exactly how you feel because she may not even know or realize it bothers other people. If my daughter was being bossy or rude and had no friends to hang out with because of that I would definitely want to know because something like that can become a life long issue through the teen years.


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#17 of 18 Old 04-14-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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My son brings home the bad attitude after every play date and it takes a day or two to get him back to being respectful and obedient (I'm swift with consequences and punishment and don't put up with squat). One thing I've noticed is that my friend doesn't give consequences. She threatens to, yells at him, but doesn't actually do what she threatens to (like end the play date or end the fun activity).  If there are consequences, they are not swift/in the moment and happen behind closed doors after everyone has left...and appear to not work.

 

It would be one thing if the kid just acted like a brat all the time, but this kid is obsessed with guns. Talks about guns all the time. Knows A LOT about guns. Everything he wants to play involves guns. And it's not "lets get the bad guys" kind of gun play or what I'd consider pretty normal boy play; he pretend-shoots DIRECTLY at other kids to "kill" them. I told him "no" once and he pointed his toy gun at ME and "shot" me! He had his "friends" line up against a tree with their hands up above their heads and pretend SHOT them execution style! 

 

So, a non-threatening way to tell mom that the boys can't play together for a while is to frame it in terms of you and your kid. "I don't know why, (yeah right!) but DS acts out so badly after playing with [little monster]. We've talked about it after the last few playdates, but it isn't getting better, so unfortunately, we're going to have to take a break from playdates." That way you concretely identify a valid reason why you're not getting together, and its about you and your kid, not her and her "monster"! Follow it up with a "But I love hanging out with you so let's do coffee/drinks next week and have some girl time!"

 

As for the guns, that is deeply troubling to me. Playacting executions? Pretending to shoot you because you told him "no" to something? Really? I can deal with a lot of obnoxious behavior, but wouldn't have my kids anywhere near a kid who was doing stuff like that. Its too bad that your son likes him so much :(

 

Its tough enough as it is to raise happy, pleasant kids without adding in clearly negative influences like this! 


Loving being a stay at home mamma to DD 10/07, and newly arrived DS 7/26/10
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#18 of 18 Old 04-23-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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wow, this is similar to a situation i've been in for about four years. my 5 yo daughter's 'best friend' is also quite the hellion with some major behaviour issues (she's 7) though hers are more along the lines of constant screaming/whining/demanding and more gender-role specifically, an obsession with looking 'beautiful' and quite a troubling conceited/superior attitude that goes along with it. her mom is a really good friend but we have had the same problem in that i have had to stop letting my daughter see this girl because she takes home not only the attitude but the screaming/whining and while it used to last only a few days after a few years of regular contact i noticed it could last up to a month whenever she felt the least bit stressed and was bringing too much stress and unhappiness into our home.

 

the funny thing is this girl is extremely well mannered when i babysat her. i cared for her for a week once while her mom was out of town and only once did she act out, and only for maybe 5 minutes tops. unfortunately THE MOMENT she sees her mom all hell breaks loose and my daughter, in seeing that latches on to immitating her. i think her being two years older somehow creates this imitative dynamic -it happened with another boy who's two years older and has autism with some out of control behaviours- with younger children my daughter is extremely maternal and helpful and offers gentle discipline and understanding when they get upset or have tantrums! it's pretty cute.

 

i would say your putting your foot down with regard to his behaviour toward you is perfectly fine. you have the right to be treated respectfully. normally that correction should be made by the mother but it seems like she could be at her wit's end with all of it, and i do think he will likely benefit from your having done so. i am a very funloving and maternal person with kids but i have no qualms about expecting respect, all around and putting a boundary there, in a calm, and shouldn't-it-be-obvious kind of way. in my situation it's tough cuz this girl isn't really disrespectful toward me or my daughter; it's more like constant whining and complaining and shreiking at her mom so there's no way for me to really gently intervene, and my friend is at her wit's end too.

 

sadly she's taken my backing off (every time i have, and our kids haven't played together for several months now) as criticism even though i've been very thorough in explaining that it's just that my daughter picks up these behaviours and the screaming/whining could go on for hours and it was too much for me, and emphasized that it was not a judgement on her. i think she feels guilty though, so it's a difficult balance, even though she knows how frustrating the behaviours are to have to deal with. i've known a few kids who've been this out of control and it seems to be a result of: giving in to their rude behaviours (whining, demanding) and no follow through/boundaries (and obviously other potential emotional or discipline related components, but those seem to be the main two) so i see no problem at all in providing and demonstrating some healthy boundaries for this child, with kindness and compassion of course.

 

 

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